D.I.Y Black and White Abstract Wall Art

As many of you are well aware, it was McGregor and my anniversary on Wednesday (if you missed it, here is what I learned in three years of marriage). I am currently “fun-employed” (not so fun when you have no money), but have the full-time job of watching Sloane at home. In case you’re wondering, two items DO go together in the same paragraph when you need to figure out an anniversary gift.

I had two factors: I needed a gift, and it needed to be affordable but also not garbage (higher likelihood because of the need for it to be affordable). I try hard to put thought into my gifts. Some days it comes to me. Others, it does not.

In this particular instance, it came to me like a two-part dream.

McGregor is very sentimental about family rituals, so I was racking my head about what I could incorporate that he’d like. I suddenly remembered a poem his grandfather adored and decided I wanted to do something with that.

Part two of my dream included me cruising through some Instagram stories, and I came across Kathleen Barnes’ story where she was doing some D.I.Y black and white abstract wall art. Kathleen got the idea from the Somewhere Lately girls. They didn’t write a full blog post about it, but they casually mention it here. You can also find their full rundown (sorry, I don’t remember if it was Brooke or Meggan’s) in their I.G. D.I.Y. highlights.

My first thought was I love this so much. My second thought, I’m sure, looked like I was in a cartoon to an outsider as I swear a light bulb appeared over my head: combine this abstract art and the poem!

*Obviously, neither thing was a dream, but it felt like it may it should have been given the way it came to me.


Signed Samantha's D.I.Y. black and white abstract wall art. The background is white and taupe and there is black writing on it but it looks like scribbles as its written over and over and over again.

D.I.Y Black and White Abstract Wall Art Using A Poem

My handwriting is like that of a four-year-old, at best. So the reason why this D.I.Y black and white abstract art went abstract is because of the above. If I was going to have a pretty poem written out above our bathtub, I was not going to be the one writing it out. And there would go the affordability aspect.

I also did not want the vibe of a motivational poster type-thing in our house. I realize it is not a motivational poster but a beautiful poem, but I think you understand what I’m trying to say. Basically, while those have a time and a place, it’s just not my or McGregor’s style.

So abstract we went, but the sentimental aspect of it is still present. And only present for those who know, you know?!

Not that any strangers are going into our master bath (I hope!) asking about the piece of art… Well, actually we still need a plumber to come in and assess this gigantic hole in our wall from a leak. But that’s another story for another time!  

The Poem That Was Used in the D.I.Y Black and White Abstract Wall Art

On this canvas, I wrote out the poem seven times. I started with three (you know, for three years of marriage and all), and it wasn’t quite abstract enough for me (i.e., you could see my ugly writing). Seven is McGregor’s favorite number, so I went for it and am OBSESSED. 

Here is the poem written out in writing you can read:

May your house be strong of beam, firm of wall and rafter, build with timber of a dream, girded well with laughter

May it have a winding stair, with a lovers landing, windows to let in the air, and light of understanding

May it have a roof of faith, for every change of weather, and love upon the hearth to warm, all your years together. 

For fun, I also added Sloane’s name, McGregor’s name, and my name as well as “happy third anniversary.” because, well, why not?!

McGregor or his family doesn’t know where his grandfather found this poem, and Google doesn’t seem to have much history on it either. 

All I’ve found is that it was an old Irish wedding wish. Which makes perfect sense as McGregor’s mom recited it at our wedding. Now it lives on our bathroom wall.

The beginnings of Signed Samantha's D.I.Y. black and white abstract wall art - you can see a portion of the canvass and the texture she created on the canvass using paint and a texture paste.

How to Make D.I.Y Black and White Abstract Wall Art (timelapse video included!)


+ Canvass (size of your choice – I used the largest one I could find at Michaels {48″x60″})

+ Acrylic Paint (I used Artist’s Loft – one Titanium White and one Parchment such that the piece wasn’t so stark white)

+ Brushes (I got a set of three – and the least expensive ones I could)

+ 2X Texture Paste (there are a million ways you can create texture, but this is the route I went)

+ Compressed Charcoal


This is how I approached this piece of art, but I will say there is a ton of opportunity to try whatever you want out. These are pretty basic things (I think?!) and would be hard to mess up. A.K.A., if I can do it, there is no doubt in my mind that you can do it too!!!

1. Lay your canvass flat on the ground, over top of something that will protect the floor from any paint that may make its way off of the canvass (I used the plastic that the canvass came wrapped in because I’m clumsy. I did not need it, but better safe than sorry.)

2. Take your texture paste and randomly spread it out over different areas of the canvass. I used the smallest paintbrush to do this. Thickness and shape etc. is all up to you.

3. Take your acrylic paint and go wild. Sometimes I dumped the paint directly onto the canvass and just spread it out. Other times I watered down the paint – just a little bit of water – to make it go further. Your paintbrush can also create more texture with the paint if you use it as a stamp. I did also paint over the texture paste in some spots and not in others. Again, you have full creative control. 

4. Let your canvass dry overnight. Overnight is probably overkill, but I don’t want to be the reason your paint smudged. 

5. The next day, take your charcoal and go wild until you’re satisfied with the look of it. You can either go with scribbles or writing out something of significance that you may want on there in large loopy cursive. Either way, it’s relatively calming and therapeutic. Perhaps I am a budding artist over here! 

6. The charcoal will get all over your hands, so this is a fragile piece, so to speak – don’t touch the front!

7. Hang and enjoy!!!  


  • veronika

    budding artist no doubt! this is super cool

    • Samantha

      Thank you, lovely! I’m relatively proud given my past history and art-making attempts LOL.

  • Erin

    Love this so much! The poem is beautiful. That’s crazy that you guys don’t know where McGregor’s grandpa found it / can’t find much history on Google. That just makes it even sweeter and more personal.

    • Samantha

      Right?! It’s such a beautiful poem and still blows my mind that it’s in very limited places. Now it lives on our wall… and on this blog LOL.

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